In a keynote address at the Global Tech Africa Conference held recently, U.S. Consul General Will Stevens shed light on the United States’ role in shaping Africa’s technological sector.
Amidst the discussions, Will Stevens noted that 80% of Nigerian startups were incorporated in the United States, marking a significant trend in the dynamic tech sector.
As Consul General Will Stevens addressed the audience, he highlighted the non-static nature of Africa’s economies, especially Nigeria, which is a key market in the U.S. agenda for supporting the growth of the digital economy on the continent.
“Up to 60 percent of African startups are incorporated in the United States – this figure is 80 percent when considering Nigeria alone,” noted Will Stevens, emphasizing the deep and impactful connection between U.S. investors and the Nigerian startup sector. This statistic speaks volumes about the mutual interest and collaboration between the two nations in fostering innovation and economic growth.
The financial investment pouring into African tech startups is one that catches the interest of many. In 2021, African startups collectively raised $4.8 billion, translating to an average of over $1 million every 2 hours. Consul General Stevens pointed to the significance of U.S. venture capital firms, stating, “U.S. venture capital firms are investing heavily in African tech startups with over 60 and 40 percent of venture capital funding in Nigeria and Africa respectively coming from the United States.”
Despite the global decline in venture capital investments, U.S. investors, including Techstars, Y-Combinator, and 500, have closed over 100 major deals within the first 9 months of the year in 2023. This reaffirms the sustained interest and commitment from the U.S. in supporting the digital economy’s growth in Africa, with Nigeria positioned prominently on the radar.
The Consulate in Lagos is not just a spectator in this ecosystem but an active participant. Consul General Stevens shared, “At the Consulate here in Lagos, we work with numerous startups to facilitate their participation in incubator and accelerator programs, thereby connecting these Nigerian startups with global markets.” This collaborative effort extends beyond financial support, acting as a bridge that connects Nigerian innovation with international opportunities.
Beyond the financial figures and the promising trend of Nigerian startups incorporated in the U.S., Consul General Stevens highlighted the broader impact of these investments. “Startups are creating not only jobs – but careers, boosting economic growth, and advancing innovation,” he remarked. The positive ripple effects extend beyond mere economic indicators, embodying a solid force in the Nigerian tech sector.
While celebrating the successes achieved, Consul General Stevens acknowledged, “Despite all of these successes, we believe it is still Day 1 in the African tech sector.” This forward-looking perspective asserted the limitless potential for growth and collaboration, where the United States remains at the forefront in nurturing innovation and shaping the future of Nigeria’s tech sector.